Ink Cartridge Information
What is an original (OEM) cartridge?
An ‘original’ or ‘OEM’ cartridge is a cartridge which has been manufactured by the brand specifically for their printer. For example, a cartridge manufactured by Epson for an Epson printer.
‘Original’ cartridges often cost more than ‘compatible’ cartridges.
What is a compatible inkjet cartridge?
Compatible ink cartridges are specially remanufactured to meet OEM specifications. Our compatible cartridges are manufactured to the very highest standards of quality and reliability and offer excellent results.
A compatible cartridge will print as many or more pages than your OEM cartridge. Not only are compatible cartridges cheaper, your cost per page will also be reduced due to the increased ink levels.
What is a compatible remanufactured cartridge?
A compatible ‘remanufactured’ cartridge (generally referred to as remanufactured) is an empty ‘original’ cartridge. For example, an empty branded cartridge that has been factory cleaned, refilled to the maximum capacity and fully tested. Inkjet cartridges sold as ‘remanufactured’ products are cartridges that have been used at least once by a consumer and then refilled by a third party.
Ink cartridges can be recycled and refilled up to seven times, which has a positive impact on the environment; reducing waste and decreasing the use of plastics.
Does using a compatible cartridge void my warranty?
Using a compatible printer cartridge does not affect the warranty unless failure or damage is attributable to it. Keep in mind that the ink does not come into contact with any part of the printer or its internal parts other than the cartridge itself and the print head. The ink is applied to the paper as the paper is fed through the printer.
Should your printer be damaged as a direct result of the cartridges (original or compatible) supplied to you by the Cartridge People, we will either replace or repair your printer free of charge. Any hardware problems with the printer are still covered by the manufacturer’s warranty.
Will I get the same number of printed pages from a compatible cartridge as an original cartridge?
You will get at least the same number of printed pages, and often more, from compatible cartridges as you will get from original (OEM) cartridges.
What is the life span of an ink cartridge?
The life span of an ink cartridge varies, depending upon a number of factors. The most important factor is whether the cartridge is opened or sealed. Cartridges sealed in the original packaging and stored in a cool, dry place should last up to two years. However the cartridges must be sufficiently protected while in storage, because even a small pin-prick in the packaging will break the seal and the ink will start to dry out. It is also a good idea to store your cartridges in an upright position as they would be placed in the printer.
The lifespan of a cartridge also depends on the kind of wear and tear it gets over the time period it is in use. If you do a lot of colour printing obviously the ink cartridges will become empty much quicker.
What is a printhead?
A printhead is the device within the printer that actually sprays the droplets of ink onto the paper If it weren’t for the printheads, you would always end up with a blank piece of paper! A lot of printers these days use cartridges that already have the printheads attached to them. To see a printhead, take your ink cartridge out, flip it over and look for a metal bar. That area is the printhead.
On the other hand, some older printers will have separate print heads. If this is the case, they are located right next to where the ink cartridges snap into place. If you’re still not sure where your print heads are, you should be able to find some more information about them in your printer manual.
What is a photo cartridge?
Some HP, Dell, Lexmark and Canon printers can operate with a ‘photo’ cartridge. These cartridges will fit into the BLACK port, and work alongside the usual colour cartridge. They are designed to offer the very best colour definition possible when you are printing photographs – by giving the printer a total palette of six colours.
If you print mainly black and colour documents then using a photo cartridge isn’t beneficial. Photo cartridges contain a very small amount of black ink (about one third of the black only cartridge).
What is an image drum?
Although it may be referred to as an imaging/drum unit or photoreceptor drum, an image drum is primarily responsible for transferring the toner along with the image or text, onto the paper.
In order for this transfer to take place, an initial positive charge is received from the corona wire (a charged wire inside the printer). From there, the laser will then write on the drum and a negative charge appears where the image/text should appear.
As the paper is fed through the rollers, the negative charge pulls the toner from the cartridge to the drum before transferring onto the paper. Once the toner hits the drum, the oppositely charged areas are attracted to it in order to create the text and images. After this has taken place, the paper goes through a ‘fuser unit’ which effectively melts the toner to the page holding the image on the page.
The imaging unit itself can go through a lot of wear and tear. This is due to the drum being repeatedly hit by a laser and this will eventually see performance drop. A way in which you can identify when the drum is ready to be replaced is if black spots on the page begin to look lighter.
It’s worth noting that a brand new toner cartridge will fail to resolve the issue of faded text and pictures. The number of pages an image drum can print before it needs replacing can vary from anywhere between 10,000 to 25,000 pages. For this reason, it’s not uncommon for manufacturers to include drum units with cartridges meaning that customers can combine replacing the toner cartridge with the image drum itself.
We would recommend looking through your printer manual in order to determine the best course of action should you encounter an image drum issue.
What is the best way to store cartridges?
Always store your cartridge upright (for example, with the print head at the bottom) as it would be placed in your printer, as during shipping the cartridge could get jolted and shaken around and the air which is normally at the top may have moved to the bottom.
By storing the cartridge upright the ink is free to settle, the air will rise to the top and the ink will flow freely without any air bubbles.
If you install the cartridge as soon as you receive it and you have a problem with the print quality then leave it overnight before attempting to print again. This will allow the ink to settle.
When installing a new printer cartridge always make sure that you remove the protective clip (if there is one on the print head) and any print head tape.
The printer automatically runs a print head cleaning routine after new cartridges are installed. If however the print quality is not as you expected, please run another print head cleaning cycle via the printer’s software.
I have used compatible cartridges in the past, why won't my printer accept them anymore?
Software on the printer can produce the message you see regarding low or zero ink levels if the machine detects a cartridge that is not a manufacturer’s original cartridge.
The cartridge should last as long if not longer than the original.
If you feel that the cartridge has run out quicker than you anticipated, then please contact a member of the customer service team.
However, there may be a problem with the communication link between the cartridge and your printer – this can be caused by dirt, such as dust or even a fingerprint, on the copper contact plate on the cartridge.
Please follow these cleaning instructions to resolve the problem: Place some newspaper down to capture any spillage of ink. Remove the cartridge from your printer – switch your printer off. Using a piece of damp kitchen paper, gently wipe the copper plate on the cartridge to give it a thorough clean. Allow the chip to dry.
Once the chip is completely dry, reinstall the cartridge into your printer and switch the printer back on. We recommend that you run the print head cleaning programme on your printer to clean the heads and push the ink through. For best results you should run the programme three to four times.
How do I get more prints from my cartridge?
It is worth noting that cartridges often still contain anywhere from 8% to 30% of their ink when a low ink/replace cartridge message appears. Your printer is likely to be set at ‘factory setting’ which will give the best print quality possible. Some changes worth considering to improve page yield where print quality is not paramount are listed below:
- Set the print quality to ‘draft’
- Set the colour to ‘print in grayscale’
- Avoid large fonts
- Generally use smaller font size
- Print preview – proof before you print.
What should I do if my printer cartridge is not being recognised in the printer?
This could be caused by a problem with the communication link between the cartridge and the printer – this is usually caused by dirt, such as dust or even a fingerprint, on the copper contact plate on the cartridge.
- Place some newspaper down to capture any spillage of ink. Remove the cartridge from your printer – switch your printer off. Using a piece of damp kitchen roll, gently wipe the copper plate on the cartridge to give it a thorough clean. Allow the chip to dry.
- Once the chip is completely dry, reinstall the cartridge into the printer and switch the printer back on. We would recommend that you run the print head cleaning programme on your printer to clean the heads and push the ink through. For best results you should run the programme three to four times.
My ink cartridge has arrived and it's leaking, what should I do?
Occasionally, items can get damaged during transit.
If this is the case, please contact our customer service team immediately.
Please do not attempt to open the cartridge from the packaging and, more importantly, DO NOT try to install the cartridge into your printer.
If you have received a damaged/leaking cartridge, we will send you another cartridge along with a postage paid label for you to return the damaged/leaking cartridge to us.
The cartridge you sent me is correct but why does it look different?
First of all, please check that you have ordered correctly for your printer.
Make sure you are placing the correct cartridge into the correct carriage.
Some compatible cartridges may look slightly different to the originals. All of our cartridges have been thoroughly tested and the cartridge you received should work in your printer. Our products are only sourced from manufacturers with the highest standards, and are all fully guaranteed to give peace of mind as part of our Performance Pledge.
How many times can you refill an ink cartridge?
The amount of times a cartridge can be refilled depends on the care taken between refilling and the inkjet print head. Until this wears out you can keep recycling your empty cartridges. As a rule of thumb a cartridge can usually be refilled up to seven times.
When is the best time to replace a cartridge?
If possible you should replace your inkjet cartridges before they run out. This will stop ink from drying in the print head between replacement.
How do you define page life?
Page yield for a cartridge is an estimate only, and is subject to countless variables, including, but not limited to, the initial ink fill, cleanings, printer clean cycles, saturation, etc. It is based on 5% print coverage per page, which is approximately one paragraph with a darker header. Printing pages that cover 25%, 50% or 75% of the page will decrease the page yield.